[Indonesia] AJI urges government to lift social media restrictions

Indonesian government has restricted the use of social media to stop the widespread sharing of manipulated videos and pictures following the violent post-election riots that started from Tuesday night, 21 May 2019, and continued till yesterday evening. The riots erupted in several spots in Jakarta, concentrated in Thamrin area, Central Jakarta and Slipi, West Jakarta.

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[Thailand] TJA calls for ‘freedom with responsibilities’ on WPFD2019

The Thai Journalists Association continues to support the principles to ensure that professional media members of all channels is aware of the value of “press freedom” and commits themselves to the morals of the media profession under the principles of “freedom with responsibilities.” In the era of online and social media, press media has high expectation from the public and is monitored by all sectors in society. As a result, members of the press media must share their responsibilities in all forms.

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[Regional] The Slide Backwards Across Southeast Asia

Political freedom and civil liberties are in a downward spiral globally. Democracy is not only in retreat, but is under assault in Southeast Asia.State-sponsored threats and attacks, internet being weaponized with toxic discourse and false narratives, hate speech and identity politics have favored patrons, caused deep divisions, and targeted vulnerable sectors.

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Activist Jolovan Wham

[Singapore] Cyberspace Headed for More Control

Singapore’s media industry has long been tightly controlled by the government. This is unlikely to change in 2019; in fact, new legislation is expected that could further curb press freedom and freedom of expression.

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[Philippines] The Plot Thickens Over Heightened Attacks Against Media

The Philippines is not unlike other countries in the region that had their national polls recently, such as Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand, where governments had kept a close watch on the media – a tacit acknowledgment of the power of what is often dubbed the Fourth Estate to keep public officials in check, not to mention ensure a well-informed and engaged citizenry whose votes and collective opinions could upend authoritarian rulers’ determined effort to keep their grip on power – at all costs.

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[Myanmar] Supreme Court ruling on Reuters reporters a grave injustice —SEAPA

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of the Myanmar Supreme Court to uphold the seven-year imprisonment of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. This ruling effectively puts the final nail in the coffin of their quest for justice.

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[Myanmar] Supreme Court set to rule on an appeal by jailed Reuters journalists

The Myanmar Supreme Court must order the release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, global civil society alliance CIVICUS and the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) said today. The two journalists, who have been jailed since 2017, are set to go before the country’s highest court on 23 April. The court will rule upon their appeal, which was submitted on grounds that lower court rulings involved errors in judicial procedure.

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Four organizations appeal to AICHR to take some concrete actions including the conduct of consultations with the relevant national authorities in Brunei Darussalam on the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. | Photo taken at the Metro Manila Pride March in 2018.

[Brunei] Joint letter to AICHR: Urgent concern about the 2013 Syariah Penal Code

Four human rights organizations submitted Thursday, 11 April 2019, a joint letter to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) expressing concern about the Brunei Darussalam’s 2013 Syariah Penal Code, provisions of which entered into force on 3 April 2019.

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[Myanmar] 20 expert organizations urge the gov’t to fully guarantee the internationally protected right to freedom of expression in the Constitution

A new parliamentary committee tasked with reviewing Myanmar’s constitution is an opportunity for the government to guarantee the democratic rights to free expression, media freedom, and access to information.

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[Regional] Democracy Consolidation in Asia: ‘Renewing Commitment to Uphold and Promote Democracy Together’

Approximately 60 key democracy advocates from across Asia convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from April 2-3, 2019, at the “Democracy Consolidation in Asia Conference” hosted by the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) and Bersih 2.0 to affirm its commitment to uphold and promote democracy amidst current democracy challenges buffeting the region. 

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[Thailand] Television host, activist face defamation charges over election coverage and comments

Voice TV host Sirote Klampaiboon and civil rights activist Nuttaa Mahattana received summons for defamation charges by the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) on 5 April 2019, according to a report by Prachatai English.

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ANFREL released its Interim Report on the Conduct of the 2019 Thai General Election last Tuesday (26 March 2019) in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo credit: ANFREL.

[Thailand] Strong headwinds blew against free expression, media freedom ahead of polls —election observers

Limited public access to critical information. Widespread media self-censorship on pain of incurring the junta’s ire or inviting prosecution. Restricted space for independent political views.The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), which monitored the conduct of last Sunday’s general election in Thailand, noted the grim scenario that had hounded the Thai media as well as the public at large in the lead-up to the much-anticipated political exercise.

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[Thailand] Nation troops to polls as media remain hobbled by repressive laws

In the days leading to Thailand’s first general election after five years of junta’s rule, Thai media have been under pressure from the public to help ensure a free and fair election while having to contend with by newly enforced laws and regulations.

Fearful of breaching the new laws enforced by the military regime, the Thai media have become less intrepid in their reporting, while the electorate is left with inadequate information that they need to make an informed choice.

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From Le Minh The's Facebook

[Vietnam] Facebook posts critical of cybersecurity law land activist two years in jail

Activist Le Minh The was sentenced Wednesday, 20 March 2019, to two years in prison for “abusing democratic freedom rights to infringe upon the interests of the state and on the legitimate rights and interests or organisations and citizens” under the Article 331 of the 2015 Penal Code. This development came about during his trial in southern Can Tho province, according to news reports. 

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